Venison meatballs combined with sun dried tomatoes, marinara sauce and lots of cheese, are perfect served over pasta for an easy weeknight meal.
I don’t know about your family, but mine loves meatballs. I’ve made many varieties, and I am always thinking of new ways to make them or serve the ones we love. Appetizers, over pasta, zoodles, or rice, with lots of sauce, on a sandwich, in soup…you name it, we’ve probably tried it.
I had some sun dried tomatoes that I needed to use up, and J loves them, so I wanted to find a way a really good way to use them. He also loves all things venison and marinara. And we all love meatballs. So, why not combine all of those ingredients, add a ton of cheese, and serve it over whole wheat pasta??
Not only were these easy to make, but they were a bigger hit with the family than I anticipated. If I’m being honest, I wasn’t sure how crazy about them I would be. I’m not a huge fan of sun dried tomatoes or marinara, so you can understand my doubt. BUT. I thought they were fantastic and I gobbled them up.
That, my friends, is a definite win. And I now have one more meatball recipe in my arsenal. And so do you.
Want even more meatball recipes? Try these!
- Albondigas (Spanish Meatballs)
- Baked Turkey Meatballs
- Cheesy Enchilada Crockpot Meatballs
- Italian Herb Baked Meatballs
- Slow Cooker Chipotle BBQ Meatballs
For the Meatballs:
- 1 lb ground venison or beef
- 1 egg lightly whisked
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained and diced
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 minced garlic cloves
- 4 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp fresh chopped oregano
- 1 Tbsp fresh chopped basil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 lb pasta of choice (I used whole wheat penne)
- 1/4 cup basil leaves, sliced (optional)
For the Sauce:
- 24 oz jar of four cheese marinara or your favorite pasta sauce
- 6 oz shredded mozzarella
- In a large bowl, combine meatball ingredients, other than the oil. Mix with hands until just combined – you don’t want to overmix.
- Using a medium cookie scoop or tablespoon, shape into evenly sized meatballs. You will get approximately 24.
- Heat the oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add meatballs and cook, in batches if neccesary, for 2-3 minutes per side, until browned. Remove to a plate.
- Add the pasta sauce and heat over medium heat for until simmering. Add the meatballs back to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add cheeste. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through.
- While the meatballs are cooking, make your pasta according to the package instructions. Typically you bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook for 8-10 minutes, depending on the pasta. Drain water.
- Serve meatballs over pasta with extra sauce and garnish with basil, if desired.